I tried to school today and was experimenting with the bed roll shims in my riser pad as they are causing my off-side side saddle to bridge a bit. The saddle doesn't bridge when I put it on Hattie's back without a pad on but it does with the riser pad. The panels keep a close contact with her back and the front of the panels fit well with her withers without pinching (although it could do with a tiny bit more padding on the side of her off-side wither). Unfortunately, the back of the saddle needs lifting until Roger can come on Thursday and fix everything so I have to use the darn pad! Plus the saddle kept sliding forward when we were doing nice forward trots so I gave up, got off, reset the saddle and went for a hack with Josie and my friend Gill.
It was a nice hack and thought since we didn't get any work done in the school, that I would practise making Hattie do a nice forward walk and keeping her in an outline on a soft contact. We also did some nice forward trotting too and the saddle stayed put for some reason. Hattie really prefers hacking to schooling so maybe we should do our schooling out on hacks!!
Got back to the stables to untack and went to undo the girth and to my horror, I realized that I had forgotten to tighten it when I re-positioned the saddle! It was only on the 2nd hole and was hanging loosely around her belly which meant it would have been even looser with me on the saddle!
Bizarrely, the saddle never shifted or even slid forward even when were were trotting! I was even riding up and down into ditches on the grassy bit on side of the lane to give my saddle a "good action test".
I guess that means the saddle is a good fit as even the balance girth wasn't done up exceptionally tight either!
It also proves that it is the position of the girth straps on Hattie's saddles that decides whether a saddle will slide forward or not. The girth was only loosely buckled to the billets causing it not to ride forward to settle into her forward girth groove and pull the saddle along with it.